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Tonic or toxin? Investigating the adoption of  ‘professional’ practices in family firms
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO). Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3613-4233
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Family firms have long faced pressures to “professionalize” their business and even their owner family’s systems. However, how professionalization unfolds over time and what it means for the business and family systems are unclear. We combine literature on professionalization and practice adoption to investigate how family firms adopt professional practices and adapt them to the underlying family and business systems. Relying on a longitudinal single case study, we have followed the professionalization process in a family firm for over a decade. Our findings show how family firms utilize four distinct modes of professionalization to balance family and business needs with professional practice requirements. We observe and conceptualize how family firms “overprofessionalize” when they adopt practices with an excessive degree of extensiveness, fidelity, and synchrony and show how overprofessionalization can be especially harmful to the family system. Thus, our study contributes by critiquing professionalization and focusing on the systems for which practices are adopted.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41619OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-41619DiVA, id: diva2:1251346
Note

An earlier version of this paper has been presented at the 31st EGOS Colloquium 2015 in Athens, Greece, under the title “Institutional practices in family firms – parallel professionalization” and at the 77th Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2017 in Atlanta, USA, under the title “When the Cure Turns Counterproductive: Parallel Professionalization in Family Firms”. The paper is part of the Best Paper Proceedings of the 77th Academy of Management Annual Meeting: Waldkirch, M., Melin, L., & Nordqvist, M. 2017. When the Cure Turns Counterproductive: Parallel Professionalization in Family Firms. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017(1): 16270.

Available from: 2018-09-27 Created: 2018-09-27 Last updated: 2018-09-27
In thesis
1. From professional interactions to relational work: Investigating relationships around non-family CEOs in family firms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From professional interactions to relational work: Investigating relationships around non-family CEOs in family firms
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Relationships constitute a central and significant part of our lives and form the very foundation on which organizations are built. They provide meaning to work, create connections, and ultimately shape organizations. This dissertation adds to the growing literature on workplace relationships by studying the chief executive officer (CEO) in an organizational form that is inherently built on relationships: the family firm. Focusing on the introduction of a non-family CEO in a family firm, this dissertation investigates the meaning of relationships for non-family CEOs, the work they perform, and the organizations they reside in. It builds on a diverse set of relational perspectives and uses conceptual approaches and in-depth longitudinal case research.

The first paper reviews, organizes and extends the literature on non-family CEOs by using gap-spotting and assumption-challenging. The second paper outlines how relationships in the triad between a non-family CEO and members of the current and next generation family owners influence whether a CEO stays or leaves the family firm. The third paper investigates how family firms adopt professional practices and outlines four modes of professionalization, showing how family firms‘ overprofessionalize’. The fourth paper follows a CEO succession and reorganization in a family firm over 16 months and investigates how contesting processes of job design and crafting change and create job systems.

This dissertation contributes by introducing relational work as a core aspect of a CEO’s work, by extending our knowledge about non-family CEOs in family firms and by challenging the understanding of professionalization in family firms. It also contributes to practice by providing guidelines for structuring relations between family owners and (prospective) non-family CEOs.

Abstract [sv]

Relationer är en central och betydande del av våra liv och utgör själva grunden i organisationers uppbyggnad. De ger mening åt vårt arbete, skapar kontakter och formar organisationer. Denna avhandling bidrar till den växande litteraturen om arbetsplatsrelationer genom att studera verkställande direktör (VD) i en organisationsform som i sig bygger på relationer: familjeföretag. Med fokus på extern VD i familjeföretag undersöker denna avhandling betydelsen av relationer för externa VD:ar, det arbete de utför och de organisationer de verkar i. Den bygger på ett flertal relationella teoretiska perspektiv och använder konceptuella ansatser och djupgående longitudinella fallstudier.

Den första artikeln går igenom, organiserar och utvecklar litteraturen om externa VD:ar genom att identifiera gap och ifrågasätta förgivettagna antaganden. Den andra artikeln beskriver hur triadrelationerna mellan en extern VD och medlemmarna i den nuvarande och nästa generations ägarfamilj påverkar huruvida en VD stannar i eller lämnar familjeföretaget. Den tredje artikeln följer en professionaliseringsprocess över 10 år och visar hur familjeföretag överprofessionaliserar. Den fjärde artikeln följer en VD:s uppdrag och omorganisation i ett familjeföretag under 16 månader och undersöker hur jobb designas, skapas och ifrågasätts samt hur ett nytt jobbsystem växer fram.

Denna avhandling bidrar genom att introducera relationsarbete som en kärnaspekt av VD:s arbete genom att utöka vår kunskap om ledare i familjeföretag och genom att utmana förståelsen för professionalisering i familjeföretag. Den bidrar också till praktiker genom att ge riktlinjer för hur relationer mellan familjeägare och (potentiella) externa VD:ar kan struktureras.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, 2018. p. 81
Series
JIBS Dissertation Series, ISSN 1403-0470 ; 126
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41621 (URN)978-91-86345-88-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-19, B1014, Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-09-27 Created: 2018-09-27 Last updated: 2018-09-27Bibliographically approved

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Waldkirch, MatthiasMelin, LeifNordqvist, Mattias

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